Former intern journalist and 2011 AGBU YSIP member, Samuel Armen, released his debut fiction novel, Within a Diminishing Caricature. Armen began the book nearly five years ago – on October 9, 2011 – a mere month after the completion of his internship at Hetq. The book has sold over 100 copies in its weekend launch, and is available in print and E-book via Kindle.
Within a Diminishing Caricature is the story of the last three years of a nameless 20-year-old’s life before he commits suicide. Through sixty-five vignettes taking place in New York and Boston, an 11,111-word suicide note, and a 7,777-word collection of excerpts from a story titled ‘Along a Wandering Wind’, the intricate puzzle of reasons why he ends his life become unearthed. Themes of identity, free-will, psychological mechanisms, addiction, depression, family, and art intertwine in this psychosocial exploration of one’s diminished feelings on the worthiness of living. The text leverages dozens of popular psychological and sociological theories, vehemently rejects reductive terms such as ‘crazy’, and aspires to open up conversations about the complexity of our behaviors. Though the novel begins in 2008 and concludes in the summer of 2011, it is deeply grounded in Homer’s The Odyssey, James Joyce’s Ulysses and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray.
About the Author: Samuel Armen was born in Gyumri, Armenia on October 12, 1988 - just prior to the cataclysmic earthquake in December 1988. By the age of five, he was adopted into an Armenian-American family in Long Island, New York. His first publications were as a journalist for the Armenian newspaper and website Hetq, where among other articles, he published a three-part cover-page narrative detailing his journey to find his biological ancestry. His undergraduate experience includes studying behavioral psychology at Boston University, screen-writing at NYU: Tisch, and English Literature at St. John's University. He received his Masters in Education in Adolescent English at CUNY: Hunter College.